Is Abe Vigoda Dead? Yes. No. Probably. 

A Review of trust blinks.’ New Album, Streaming Now

By Izzy Braico

When we got an email in our inbox asking us to put out a piece on Is Abe Vigoda Dead, the new album from LA-based trust blinks., my interest was immediately piqued. 

I’m not much of a movie buff, so I hope you will excuse my not recognizing the name of the album, or knowing whether or not Abe Vigoda is, in fact, dead. 

When I did a little digging (a Google search), though, I found out that he died in 2016. And with that mystery solved, I found myself asking, ‘What could that name possibly mean?’

I’ve come to the conclusion that I may never know for sure. 

Could it be like a kōan from the practice of Zen, attempting to prompt some sort of revelation in the simplicity of the question, the finality of its answer? Could it be a question of what it really means to die? 

Could it be a reference to an inside joke made in someone’s garage to which we, the listeners, can never truly be privy? 

It’s safe to say that I’m not quite sure whether Abe Vigoda is dead— at least not in whatever sense that Ethan Hoffman-Sadka asks us through this latest installment in his project, trust blinks.

And I didn’t know Abe Vigoda, so I can’t necessarily speak on whether he would have liked this Alex G-esque album had he been around to hear it. But I do. 

Boy, do I. 

An instrumental introduction, titled, “Intro,” plain and simple, pulls the listener in before the raspy, almost whispering vocals of the second song on the album, “Arm’s Length.” Dark and melodramatic, the angst in “Arm’s Length” is nearly palpable. 

It’s awesome. 

The lyrics are simple, delivered with a sort of even-tempered melancholy, but powerful in their ability to evoke the feeling of missing someone you haven’t lost yet. The mournful swelling of the horns from Rubin Hohlbein nearly clouds your vision as you’re sucked deeper and deeper into the world of Abe Vigoda. 

“Untitled 3,” despite its unassuming name, delivers at our proverbial doorstep a level of only slightly muffled intensity unmatched by the other tracks on the album. This is the kind of song you’ll wish you had during your first breakup. The kind of song you can only really understand when you find yourself staring up at your ceiling fan in the late hours of the night.

My favorite song on the album, though, is “Double or Nothing.”

The track features Jolee Gordon, whose voice is as arresting as it is beautiful. Her voice becomes haunting when paired with Hoffman-Sadka’s, who does the rest of the vocals on the album (and most of the instruments, too).

The song is so soft and ethereal that the lyrics are made all the more heavy; it almost physically hurts when Gordon sings, “I’m double or nothing, but mainly nothing.”

Near the end of the song comes an assortment of loosely related sound bites, an element which some might say has become a bit trite in Shoegaze as a genre. 

But here, in a song which already feels so intimate, these clips draw you in and refuse to let you go. 

There’s so much more I could say about this album— how the music video for “free time!” is as funny as the song is earnest, how I can’t get the riff for “Is Abe Vigoda Dead” out of my head, or how the last song, “closed,” bookends the album in a way that feels like saying goodbye to an old friend. But I’ll let you make up your own mind.

If you asked me whether Abe Vigoda was dead before I listened to this album, I would give you the short answer: yes.

If you asked me now, though, after I’ve spent so much time in the little world that trust blinks. has created for us, I would tell you that you’ll just have to listen and decide for yourself.

Check out trust blinks.’ Is Abe Vigoda Dead, out now on Bandcamp and Spotify, and watch the music video for “free time!” here.

Find them on Instagram at @trust.blinks

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